A back translation involves taking a document translated into another language and translating it back into the original language. The purpose of this is to compare the documents and ensure accuracy and quality control.
The back translation should always be carried out by an independent translator, who has not seen the original source document.
Source document > Translation by translator 1 > Back Translation by translator 2> Review/Comparison > Discussion > Amends as needed
Language isn’t an exact science, and a back translation will never be 100% exactly the same as your original text but it can help to identify ambiguities or errors.
Back translations are usually literal – to give the exact meaning of the translation. As a result, back translations are likely to read rather unnaturally.
Once you have your back translation, you can compare with the source text and look for any problems. These can be listed and raised with the translators to make any necessary changes to the actual translation.
Why do I need a back translation?
Not many clients will need back translations – typically pharmaceutical, clinical research, medical and associated companies. A back translation may be required to meet requirements of regulatory bodies.
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